It has been a great weekend at Maanzoni Lodge where the second edition of Word Camp Kenya was held. If you missed the first edition, we covered it here. This year’s theme was “Responsible blogging & positive social media influence”. As we’ve discussed earlier here at Afrinnovator, technology should act as an enabler to tackle issues surrounding us. The event sought to empower bloggers to leverage WordPress and technology to promote peace as we head to elections early next year.

Blogger Daudi Were took us through his political activism journey that peaked in 2007 leading him and a few others to building Ushahidi a crisis mapping solution. Ushahidi has now been adopted worldwide and has been used in the haiti earthquake together with monitoring elections in several countries including Nigeria. Another speaker Philip Ogola who heads Social Media at the Kenya Red Cross led us through his #ivolunteer campaign that enables normal twitter users report incidents or occurrences that may need Kenya Red Cross attention. Philip and his team monitor tweets with the hash tag, he confirms the incidences and reports to the emergency services near the location. #iVolunteer has proven successful in saving lives and Red Cross plans to adopt it in other countries.

On Tech

Moses Kemibaro former InMobi’s Director of sales Africa and Isaac Keyet from Automattic talked about the responsive wordpress themes as the next step in web development. Definition of Responsive theme from Surf New Media:

A responsive theme (as the one used for this website), is an approach to web development that allows a website to break itself down smoothly across multiple monitor sizes, screen resolutions, and platforms, be it a computer, tablet or mobile device. It allows the developer to create a site that is optimized for each platform, both in navigation, readability and load time.

As you can see when resizing the window (if you are viewing this site on a computer), the layout of the page shifts depending on the size of the screen; with different layouts for content depending on viewing area. Themes (or layouts) such as this, allow for a single site and single look to the site, to be viewed on various devices without the need for additional themes or resizing by the user.

The event wasn’t very technical as other Word Camp events around the globe but David Mugo the organizer mentioned plans to have a local WordPress community. This community plans to bring together local WordPress enthusiasts and focus on the development bit. I’m personally looking forward to this.

On Content

Kimanzi Constable talked about how he’s been able to sell over 70,000 ebooks online. He advices bloggers on Key things before you start blogging. Why do you want to be heard? Is it Fame, Money, Impact? What is your core message? From his experience he suggests one should focus on good content and money will follow.

On SEO and community Building

Lilian Okado took us through Google Authorship. This enables you to have a thumbnail image next to your blog post on search engine results. Viewers are more likely to click on posts with pictures of authors than blog posts without. The easiest way to do this is by using the Wordpres SEO plugin by Yoast.

On the first day of the event, Word Camp Kenya was Trending. It is estimated the tweets reached over 1.5million twitter users. Of course what do you expect from a room full of bloggers and techies :-)

The event was a huge success. Great speakers and fabulous attendees. I’m looking forward to next year’s Word Camp Kenya, so should you.

(Featured image courtesy of @MosesKemibaro)

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